Writer's retreat

Writer's retreat

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Perils of Poetry Competitions

My poetry writing is very spasmodic. If I'm not emotionally wraught, I don't write! The exception is the Solihull Writer's Workshop annual poetry competition, when I try to create something.

The judge was a performance poet - very skilled, very interesting and a fantastic performer. She gave us useful tips on creating mature poetry, meaningful and enjoyable to the reader. The advice was very simple and applies to other areas of writing - edit ruthlessly, don't spoonfeed the reader, allow them to find their own meaning in your words rather than spelling it out for them too heavily.

She didn't like my poem. She said there were two many images. She also presumed the line "We stand beside hops and mugwort discussing flavourings for ale" related to a group of men, rather than the actual crowd of 7 women and one man who were there in reality. All the images I used, were sights I'd seen during 19 June, apart from the fox with the pheasant in her mouth. My father saw her a few days before and told me about her.

I shall be reading the poem at the Celebrating Herbs Festival near Stow on the Wold this weekend, along with other poems relating to Springfield Sanctuary. I hope the audience like it. See what you think!

Summer Solstice
Mid way between winters two meadows grace a Cotswold hill
Their boundaries set for centuries in stone
Summer sun shows skylarks guarding nests with song
Tall grasses ripple stippled wind-born waves
While rose briars quiver in the breeze
Blush-kissed petals surrounding yellow pools where insects drink.

Beside a wall, a stately pheasant peruses his domain
Red circle bobbing between the rye
Across the field flying formations rise up
Then disappear into a surfeit of seeds
Silent now their quest
Unlike the hearty chorus in the hazel tree at dawn.

Half way to the valley floor, a spring-birthed stream flows clear
We stand beside hops and mugwort discussing flavourings for ale
A half-grown rabbit scampers between legs to prickled sanctuary
Startled, those with sharper eyes notice a weasel
His long neck extended towards our voices
A chance hunt thwarted by our invasion

Later, a vixen trots, jaws filled with pheasant
Ruler of the grass deposed
Her fealty to growing cubs, deep in the badger’s sett
Careless, she leaps up and over one wall,
Runs across the field then leaps again
Safe home to fill bellies as feathers fly.

Colours fade as light succumbs to dark
A half-circled moon shines from blackened sky
White clouds drifting serenely across her face
I lean through my open window consuming silence
Waiting through this shortest night
For the promised dawn.

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